This past summer my husband woke up to the smell of something burning and had us both in a panic. It was a strong odor and we couldn’t figure out where it was coming from nor decide what kind of smell it was at the time. Immediately my mom instincts kicked in and I woke the kids up from a sleep to get them outside while Kurtis called the fire department. Luckily it wasn’t a fire or carbon monoxide (both which we had feared) but rather a burned out motor on our air conditioning unit. While the problem was an easy fix, we were extremely fortunate that it wasn’t any worse!
Recently, I learned that fifty-nine percent of non-fire carbon monoxide related deaths occur between November and February. While 94% of homeowners know that the furnace can release deadly carbon monoxide gas, more than half (53.7%) don’t take simple steps that can prevent that from happening. After hearing this I knew I had to be proactive, especially after the scary incident we endured this summer. Clearly there was something I should be doing to protect my family and I needed to make sure I was doing all that I possibly could.
This information was a finding from a survey conducted on behalf of Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. While 50.1% of homeowners are very concerned or concerned about carbon monoxide, there are alarming gaps in what they know about the subject. The Centers for Disease Control has described carbon monoxide poisoning as a leading cause of unintentional poisoning deaths in the United States, causing approximately 15,000 emergency room visits and nearly 500 deaths annually. As many as 68,000 cases of non-fatal carbon monoxide exposures were reported to poison control centers between 2000-2009.
Survey highlights include:
o 66.5% don’t know if they would recognize the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning
o More than half of homeowners (53%) don’t know that the clothes dryer can be a source of carbon monoxide; 25.5% don’t know that the fireplace also can be a source
o More than half (54%) don’t know the best place in the home to install a carbon monoxide detector
o More than half (54%) also don’t get their furnace tuned annually, which can identify and repair a carbon monoxide leak or potential leak
o 41% say they never replace their carbon monoxide detector, or they aren’t sure how often it is replaced
o Most alarmingly, over one third of homeowners (34%) don’t have or aren’t sure if they have a carbon monoxide detector in their homes
o 22.1% never test or don’t know how to test the detectors to be sure they are working
o 20.7% replace the batteries every few years – or never at all
Carbon monoxide emissions don’t just happen with older furnaces. Even a new furnace can emit the deadly gas if it wasn’t installed correctly. An annual tune-up will ensure the furnace is working safely, and it will save money on utility bills, keep the warranty valid, and avoid unexpected breakdowns. Service Experts is offering significant discounts on tune-ups through the winter, as well as special savings on equipment if it is time to replace the old HVAC system.
In addition to annual furnace tune-ups, a carbon monoxide detector should be part of every home monitoring system. Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed outside of each separate sleeping area, and not within 15 feet of heating or cooking appliances in humid areas such as bathrooms. They should not be installed directly above or beside fuel-burning appliances, since those may emit a small amount of carbon monoxide on start-up.
When I read through some of the highlights from the survey, I realized that there was a lot of information that I never thought about as a home owner and carbon monoxide safety. I wasn’t going to take any chances so I did some research to find a well respected business that would be willing to come and service our furnace to help us take the precautions we needed to protect our family. Service Experts is one of North America’s largest heating and air conditioning service companies, with 90 locations serving approximately 2,000 homes and businesses, on average, each working day. Broad Ripple Service Experts has been serving the Indianapolis area for more than 50 years. Their technicians are NATE-certified and have the knowledge and skills to service, repair, and install all of the top brands of furnaces, air conditioners, air handlers, and indoor air quality equipment, and even meet all of your plumbing needs! They have 24 technicians and 30 service trucks in the Indianapolis area alone so they will always have an expert technician ready to help when you are in dire need of service and attention.
I’ve added reminders to my phone to set up biannual tune-ups and inspections of our HVAC system before the big seasons of usage. My husband and I have vowed to not have to experience another scary situation as we did last summer. And now that I have read the findings of the survey I understand the importance of staying on top things, especially when I know how it will affect my family.